Old Navy is currently running ads with Anjani’s “Blue Alert” as backdrop. They have now ruined the best song on her latest album. To hear it the way it was meant to be heard, visit her blog with your speakers turned on.
The song lyrics are a poem written by Leonard Cohen. It is pure poetry, you can read it here. But if anyone needed proof that Cohen’s poems need someone like Anjani to breathe life into them, this is it.
For starters, the voice for these poems is supposed to be sultry, slow, experienced, and maybe a little bit sad; like a lounge singer. The Old Navy commercial features a peppy, smug voice. Did they even read the lyrics? Right lyrics, wrong voice. The contrast is jarring.
Then the three women in the commercial add to the dissonance. They picked three younger models with exuberant strut and youthful makeup. The only thing they got right for the archetype was the hair (long and straight, no embellishments). The person singing this song would move languidly, and would be seasoned enough to dispense with the swagger. Right hair, wrong walk. Jarring.
Seriously, it is total crap. WTF were they thinking? Anjani could have done the whole thing. Did the producer’s niece need a job, or what?
While I’m at it, I might as well review the rest of the Anjani album. It is not bad, but “Blue Alert” is the best song by far. It’s worth it just for that song, and a couple of others like “Innermost Door”, “Never Got to Love You”, “Half the Perfect World”, and “The Mist” are pretty good.
The others are OK on the music, and not so OK on the poetry. The lyrics are all Leonard Cohen, and his poetry has gone steadily downhill in the past decade. So much so that I find his recent stuff downright grating (Book of Longing? Give me a break). I don’t even know how many of the remaining songs on Blue Alert were recent, but suffice it to say that I find Cohen to be about as profound as Richard Gere these days, and annoyingly as prolific.